Argus A2F (1939)
The Argus A2F is an American 35mm viewfinder camera produced from 1936-1941 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It takes standard 135 cassettes of 35mm film, is similar to many other Argus A-series, and is differentiated by its helical focus and built-in extinction meter.
The entire camera is made of molded Bakelite with a stamped aluminum back and metal hardware. Despite appearances, the A2F is a very high-quality camera for its price.
The A2F is permanently fitted with an Argus Anastigmat 50mm f/4.5 lens (very similar to the Cintar found on the C3). It is very sharp for its range and good quality enlargements up to 8x10 in. can be easily be made. It is to be noted that the aperture sequence on this lens is of the old German series (4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.7, 18).
The shutter equipped is like most other A-series cameras, an Ilex Precise with a continuous speed range (meaning that intermediate speeds are possible) from 1/25-1/200s, as well as Bulb and Time modes. The shutter is everset and requires a separate plunger to be screwed into the shutter release socket since there is no shutter release on the camera itself.
The viewfinder found on the A-series camera is just about the same as that found on the C3; it is small. but very bright. There is no rangefinder on this camera, but there is an extinction light meter on the top of the camera. Six windows of gradually increasing density are mounted within the box at the top; the slider of the exposure calculator is made to point to the window which just shows when pointed at the subject. The proper exposure may then be read off the exposure calculator. I have found this meter to be accurate.
Focusing of the lens is achieved by turning the knurled collar around the lens barrel. It will focus down to the exceptionally small distance of 15 inches. The lens will focus as one unit, thus resulting in greater sharpness throughout the whole focus range. The lens barrel may also be pushed in and rotated slightly to collapse it for travel. This makes the whole camera very small.
The camera is opened when the metal catch on the side is depressed. The back will remove completely. Like the C3, the film runs from right to left and it is very easy to get bonus shots on a 36 roll. All in all, the film loading is much the same as the C3. The film is advanced by depressing the silver button on the top of the camera. This allows the winding knob to be rotated and will automatically stop at the next frame. The number of remaining shots is indicated by the rotating number wheel and pointer next to the release button. To rewind, all that is needed is to turn the rewind knob. There is no need to release the film, as the sprocket is ratcheting and will release in the rewind direction.
I enjoy using the A2F, and it makes a fine addition to my WWII camera collection. If you ever get the chance to pick one up, it is worth the chance to try it out.
Sample Images (Compressed, pardon the loss in quality)